Residential Lighting: What is the main design trend you see for 2010?
Michelle Lamb: Modern Classics, which have little to do with the Baroque overtones of the last couple of years, where we’ve done essentially two-dimensional products of bold graphic design. There is very little about Modern Classics that is graphic, even though we will still use streamlining and there might be some exaggerating, like an amplified cabriole leg, sharp wingbacks and cerused, or limed, wood with straight grains.
RL: Tell us about another trend you’ve identified.
ML: The global trends that we’ve gravitated toward as being African and Asian are tribal and minimalist. Bohemian Rhapsody is every bit as exotic, but it has more folklore coming through and it’s highly decorative. The inspiration runs from Eastern European handicraft to embroideries from Uzbekistan to Matryoshka dolls. The patterns are colorful, active and packed. They might be done in patchwork with layered designs. We will see framed and bordered designs, such as a crocheted look, heavy embroidery and even grill work. Suzani designs, those circular motifs that we’ve seen emerging, are part of it. So are stylized blossoms, like tulips and chrysanthemums. We are going to have beads and jewel-encrusted surfaces, from Fabergé eggs to gypsy bangles.
RL: What else do you see?
ML: Americana influences are bubbling up right now. You have a level and density of pattern that is fresh and new. Florals will be an absolute must-have. Mini sizes will work, too. We are talking about an all-over design, or something that fills a motif, like a rabbit or a deer. And, we are going to live with wood that looks raw and natural with light stains, if any at all.
RL: What color trends do you see incoming?
ML: We see Chameleon Neutrals projecting into 2010/2011 in four values or saturation levels, and we see these emerging now for placement by the end of this year. There has been such a riot of color that the high end always looks to differentiate. In the face of so much color, neutrals look more sophisticated again. But we don’t want them to be like neutrals we’ve seen in the past. So these chameleon personalities will change and shift based on the light they are in and the company they keep. You might have something that looks gray in one setting, purple in another, even blue or brown in a third. So you get much more out of these neutrals. It makes them fascinating to a consumer, who has been involved with so much color.
RL: How can we translate these trends into sales?
ML: There may never be a more important time to get personal with your customer, listen carefully about what they want and make sure that you deliver newness and innovation. In some cases, sales are slow because people aren’t coming in the door. In other cases, people are coming in the door, but they are not finding anything that they are willing to spend money on. Showrooms need to provide something new, something interesting, something customers haven’t seen. Trend forecasting is still the best route to sales.
Michelle Lamb is co-founder and Chairman of Minneapolis-based Marketing Directions Inc., specializing in home furnishings color and trend forecasting. Clients include 3M, Hunter Douglas, Target, The Home Depot and Hunter Fan. She is Editorial Director of The Trend Curve™ and prepares specialized reports.